Many years ago (or in 2003) on a family trip to Las Vegas, My Mom, Dad, sister and I took a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. That trip was from McCarren Airport, flew us by the Hoover Damn and down to the Grand Canyon, I believe the north rim. We flew around inside the canyon a bit and then headed back. On the trip back we did a nice sweep of the strip. I think that trip was an hour and a half in the air. It was absolutely fabulous.
When I returned to Las Vegas last year I had the option of taking another helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, this one even included lunch (or brunch in our case) in the canyon. I decided that after 9 years, and a different experience it was worth it.
This tour was quite a bit different though. First we went from Boulder Airport, which meant two things: we had a longer driver to the airport and we were not going to see the strip on this trip. Not seeing the strip was a bummer and something I would tell others to seriously consider this when picking a helicopter tour.
But, we had a shorter flight to the Grand Canyon. At the airport everyone was weighted and asked if there was anyone they had/wanted to fly with, then everyone was assigned to a helicopter and pilot. And then we waited, our group had 6-8 helicopters so it did take a little while to call all the groups and load them up. My helicopter was one of the last to depart.
We flew into the canyon, flew for a bit and landed. Our landing area reminded me a bit of a scene from M*A*S*H. Our lunch/bunch consisted of sandwiches, chips, soda, water, and champagne. Lunch felt a little bit rushed being the last helicopter, it might have been in my head, but I felt like the earlier groups might have had a big more time. Either way we had enough time to eat and take photos, about a half hour.
Then we boarded up and flew back home, the good thing about being the last helicopter was that we were able to watch all the other helicopters take off from inside the Grand Canyon, made for some great photos.
Overall this was a great tour, and I highly recommend a helicopter tour to anyone who is visiting Vegas and wants to see the Grand Canyon with limited hassle. The question is did I prefer a tour where I saw The Strip instead of the lunch? Well, they’re both very different things and both were cool. If you’re more of a nature person, then lunch in the Grand Canyon might be better. If you like the bright lights and big city, or just the overhead view of a city – then the fly over the The Strip is the way to go.
We did have lunch in the restaurant, it was a bit pricey, but it was good. And after I had just enough time to take my favorite wildlife photograph ever!